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Comparisons with SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT -- in our view a shallow and overrated pic -- are inevitable but misguided, as is the ad campaign that calls GIRL 6 an outrageous comedy. While it's often quite funny, Spike Lee's newest is really a surprisingly vivid dramatic
study of an aspiring actress (Theresa Randle) in moonlighting hell. She winds up working as a phone sex operator with a name (and a wig) for every fantasy. Suzan-Lori Parks's script is far less schematic than Lee's own efforts, and his signature directorial flourishes are for once unobtrusive.
It's not exactly realistic -- Naomi Campbell, wearing a "Models Suck" T-shirt, is Girl 75 -- but Lee lets Randle give a real performance instead of flattening her character into caricature. The supporting cast -- notably Michael Imperioli as a scary caller, Jenifer Lewis as a motherly boss and
Madonna as the skanky owner of a rival phone sex service -- is generally strong. Only Lee himself strikes a jarring note, playing a neighbor/confidante with his usual grandstanding smirk. The wall-to-wall Prince soundtrack is the icing on the cake.